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Point

To the Editor:

When I read biased and inflammatory articles about Israel, I often write to the editor to provide an opposing viewpoint. Since there are usually two sides to every story, I write about the Israeli perspective. This time, however, confronted with Mr. Parrish’s incredible caricature of the events unfolding in the West Bank [“Under Siege,” April 11], I am not sure how to respond. On the positive side, I can say that Mr. Parrish certainly has the command of many adjectives and has mastered the hackneyed rhetoric of victimologists who write with an agenda rather than with the rules of journalism in mind.

Instead of responding to Mr. Parrish’s article, which is based on reports gathered from Palestinian propagandists, I wish to paint a scenario for your readers. I hope you will indulge me.

Imagine if you will, that Schenectady is a Native American reservation. The people living there tell you that you are on their land and they want it back. They maintain that as descendants of European settlers who stole their land, you have no right to be there and have no historic ties to it. (This element of the scenario is pretty strong because Jews at least have a historic interest in Israel).

It’s Friday night. You just finished your ropa vieja at Justin’s and you decide to walk to the Larkin to hear some music. As you reach the home of the Lark Street psychic, there is a massive explosion. Justin’s, brimming with people, some of whom you know personally, is destroyed. Many die, many others are wounded. You rush back to Justin’s and see the devastation. Blood and body parts are everywhere. You think to yourself how lucky you are to be alive. You are also traumatized for life.

Two weeks later, you are waiting for the Central Avenue bus. After all, you are an environmentalist and a proponent of mass transit. As the bus approaches the stop, it explodes into a fiery wreck. No survivors.

As the bombings become more frequent, you ask yourself some questions. Is it safe to dine on Lark Street anymore? Is it safe to get on a bus? You decide that life must go on.

One Sunday, you stay home to read The New York Times and do the crossword puzzle. You turn on the television. A bomb has just exploded at Crossgates Mall—20 dead, 80 wounded. What do you do? Months have gone by and there is no end to the terror. You are afraid to go out anymore. You have lost friends and family. Children are being killed. You tried negotiating, but the Native Americans walked away from the table. Should you give up your home and move back to Ireland? Or do you ask your government to stop the terrorism?

Michael Kohn
Albany

To the Editor:

It is sad that Metroland has jumped on the bandwagon of those who seek to demonize Israel. It is to be expected that Arab and Muslim propagandists will spew forth their lies and their hatred for Israel. It is disappointing, however, that otherwise liberal and compassionate people throughout the world have been so quick to believe them and join in the hue and cry [“Occupational Hazards,” April 11].

The anti-Israel propaganda has served also to blur the line between anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Jewish sentiment. It is not surprising that the anti-Israel propaganda has led to a resurgence of anti-Jewish violence throughout the world, with arson, bombings, desecration and physical attacks increasing against Jewish institutions and people in France and other countries. Are these precursors of a new Holocaust to be visited on the Jewish people?

The continuing bloodshed in Israel is deplorable. However, years of negotiations with Arafat and his ilk have shown that he and they are unwilling and unable to control Palestinian terrorists. Their ultimate aim continues to be the complete destruction of Israel.

I am reminded of Hitler in the 1930s, who, at every stage of his progressive domination of his neighbors, promised peace if only the world would allow him his latest takeover. I remember newsreel pictures of Neville Chamberlain waving a paper signed by Hitler, “guaranteeing peace in our time.” The world knows how valueless that piece of paper was. We have seen how equally valueless have been Arafat’s promises to stop the present terrorism.

When the United States suffered acts of terrorism on Sept. 11, prompt military, political and economic actions were taken against the source of that terrorism. Israel has suffered from years of terrorism. Why does the world condemn it for striking at the root of the evil?

Arnold Grushky
Albany

Counterpoint

To the Editor:

I thoroughly enjoyed your April 11 issue, starting with the cover on Mother Judge. It’s about time she got some recognition for all that nurturing of the local music community that she has been doing for so long [“Maternal Flame”]. Bravo, Caroline!

Thanks also to Metroland for continuing to provide editorial balance to the crisis in Israel/Palestine by including a Palestinian perspective that seems absent from most of the mainstream media [“Occupational Hazards”]. The series of articles that appeared was a fine follow-up to the articles you published on the same crisis last year, just prior to Sept. 11.

I recently read somewhere that one third of U.S. foreign aid goes to Israel. Doesn’t that make as much sense as sending one third of our foreign aid to say, Northern Ireland? Can you imagine what the political reaction in this country would be like if the United States did so, and the Ulster Protestants used the money to craft themselves the most advanced military on earth, complete with nuclear weapons and smart missiles so accurate that they could target individuals sitting in their homes and blow them up from miles away while their huge tanks rumbled through refugee camps in occupied counties from Donegal to Dublin, demolishing the humble homes and murdering hundreds of the hapless Catholics who were left with nothing but stones to throw in retaliation and who, if they wanted to retaliate with explosives, had no technology but to deliver them personally, killing themselves along with their other targets in order to make their point?

Has a single politician yet stood up to call for cutting—better yet, eliminating—foreign aid to Israel in the midst of this current crisis? At best, this is money squandered that could otherwise be used to fight poverty and injustice here at home. At worst, it could be creating enemies angry, crazy and desperate enough to fly their hijacked planes into our tallest buildings in an attempt to try to wake us up.

Terry Phelan
Albany

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: metroland@metroland.net. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at metroland@metroland.net.


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